Monday, 22 March 2010


So what is it like when your football club has been killed off? Surprisingly, it is proving quite uplifting. Not the initial stage of course, the o-my-god-what-will-we-do-on Saturdays-now phase, not the will-anyone-notice-we've-gone phase, and certainly not the underwhelming sight of those clubs still alive squabbling over the points they took off us before our demise, like mangey hyenas fighting over fleshless bones.

We've experienced all that and it hasn't taken long to leave it in the past. Let them fight over our points, the bastards. OK, maybe some of us haven't left it all behind just yet!

But the feeling of liberation is terrific. Chester City (in case you were wondering) doesn't have to cope with a regime which was seemingly hellbent on self destruction any more. That episode is history. Now we are seeing a new club emerge from the rubble, and it's happening amazingly quickly.

Months before the official liquidation of the club supporters saw what was going to happen. They've been preparing since August for the probability that a new club would have to be created. Now a raft of positive moves are being made, from talking to the local council about using the Deva Stadium to preparing an application to the FA to raising money to signing up volunteers and on and on.

Already the fans have dispelled any notion that somehow being a fan prevents you from running a football club. City Fans United already have fund-raising and communication systems that the previous gang couldn't even dream of. Money is coming in, loyalty is being inspired and enthusiasm is being regenerated.

The chances of a new club kicking off next season are improving by the day.

One interesting barometer is the fans' online forum Devachat. For months any thread would barely surive a handful of posts before bickering and insults would grind it into the mud. Now, articulate and informative threads are the order of the day, with fans debating topics like the new name for the club, the colours of the shirt, the badge, ticket prices and so on. People feel a clear sense of ownership now, and engagement, and there isn't even a team on the pitch yet! It underlines what was missing for so long beforehand.

Incredibly, far from being a terrible time to support a football club, it is a wonderful time.

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